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96 percent of netbooks use Windows, says Microsoft

96 percent of netbooks use Windows, says Microsoft

Mainstream netbooks such as HP's Mini 1000 use Ubuntu Linux, but Microsoft says that industry is rapidly shifting towards Windows.

When Asus first launched its £199 Linux-based Eee PC in 2007, it looked as though Linux had finally found a mainstream niche in the land of consumer computers. However, Microsoft claims that Linux’s brief spell at the top is now over, saying that 96 percent of netbooks sold now use Windows.

Microsoft’s Windows communications manager, Brandon LeBlanc, revealed the statistic on his Windows Experience Blog, in which he also admits that Windows accounted for less than ten percent of the netbook market share in the first half of 2009. LeBlanc says that the figures are based on the latest NPD Retail Tracking Service data for February 2009, but they're also backed up by some netbook manufacturers. For example, MSI UK's marketing assistant, Pawel Adamiec, told us that "Windows XP accounts for over 98% sales" when it comes to MSI's netbook sales.

LeBlanc jumped on the data to demonstrate that most people don’t want a netbook for a few OS-agnostic tasks, but instead want a fully-fledged PC that works in a familiar way. “Some believed consumers wouldn’t want or need their netbook PC to be a full-featured PC,” says LeBlanc, “in fact, the exact opposite turned out to be true – a number of analysts and researchers following the space see ample evidence indicating customers really DO want netbook PCs to work like their larger brethren – and that the way the vast majority of consumers make that happen is by buying a netbook PC with Windows.”

LeBlanc also pointed to the increased return rates of Linux netbooks compared with Windows netbooks, linking to a story about UK retailer Carphone Warehouse’s reported decision to stop selling Elonex's Ubuntu-based Elonex Webbook. According to the report linked by LeBlanc, the decision to stop selling the netbook was based on customer confustion, resulting in one in five of the machines being returned. However, Carphone Warehouse later denied the story, saying that it was going to stop selling that line of netbooks anyway, regardless of the OS. That said, all netbooks available at the Carphone Warehouse now use Windows.

Similarly, LeBlanc also states that MSI "saw Linux return rates 4 times higher than Windows," but MSI denied this when we asked the company. "We’ve had no major return’s increase in models with Linux," said Adamiec, although he also pointed out that "as a manufacturer, we cover only hardware faults and they hardly ever result from OS-related issues."

Unafraid to put the boot in when it comes to Linux, LeBlanc claims that Windows is “easier to set up, easier to use, and easier to maintain.” He also claims that Windows “just works with people’s stuff” and cites examples of Windows’ support for nearly 3,000 printers, 700 digital cameras and 240 webcams. “Over the last 25 years, we’ve learned a lot about what people want out of an OS,” says LeBlanc, “and we’ve built Windows to meet those needs.”

These needs, according to LeBlanc, include worldwide technical support, easy updates and wizard-based help. “You’ll never need to go to the command line and manually configure things,” he says, and also points out that “Windows supports the broadest array of PC applications and games.”

Do you have or want a netbook? If so, would you be happy with Linux on it, or is Microsoft right in saying that Windows is more appropriate? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

Via InformationWeek.

48 Comments

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Mankz 8th April 2009, 14:10 Quote
I use Ubuntu on my Aspire one.

STFU Micro-gay.
zimbloggy 8th April 2009, 14:10 Quote
It makes no since to have windows on a netbook. First of all, netbooks have significantly less power than their notebook or desktop counterparts, so linux is clearly better than windows here. Secondly, netbooks are supposed to be as cheap as possible, and Windows costs $$. Thirdly, the only purpose of netbooks are to surf the web, and write documents, etc., something that linux can do just as well (if not better) than windows. Yes, there are a couple of websites that don't work on linux, but web developers need to adapt to that.

The only reason that people would choose Windows here over Linux is that it is familiar. Most people fear linux.

"in fact, the exact opposite turned out to be true – a number of analysts and researchers following the space see ample evidence indicating customers really DO want netbook PCs to work like their larger brethren – and that the way the vast majority of consumers make that happen is by buying a netbook PC with Windows.”

also, people are idiots.
Krikkit 8th April 2009, 14:13 Quote
From my experiences with Linux-based netbooks, ones with windows are simpler to use for normal folks.

I'm sure that'll angry up the blood of you Linux diehards out there, but it's the truth. Only the other day my sister's Acer Aspire went mad, with the wireless drivers just being a pain in the ass. The fix? Reinstall the drivers, via the command line and various tweaks. Not for your average user who's used to just downloading a file and double clicking.

I'd buy a netbook with Linux, but I can see why the sales are dominated by Windows-based ones. XP on a netbook works surprisingly well.

[edit] Roffle, 10 minutes up and already we've got 2 angry linux posts.
wuyanxu 8th April 2009, 14:21 Quote
hit me up with MSI Wind using Hackintosh any day.

Windows: great for gaming, not good for everything else
Linux: too hard to get stuff done for normal folks
Mac OSX: great for few-task small machine such as laptops and netbooks.
Gunsmith 8th April 2009, 14:27 Quote
i dualboot ubuntu and xp.
mclintox 8th April 2009, 14:50 Quote
I doesn't really matter what we here would want,the things are aimed at users who dont know any different and think that MS is the only choice they can have,ie:Joe Public
Sir Digby 8th April 2009, 14:55 Quote
I tried my eee with the default linux, once it was in full desktop mode and sorted out it was ok but if I'm honest once I got windows installed on it became a lot more useful to me and even ran slightly faster...
itazura 8th April 2009, 14:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz
STFU Micro-gay.

hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhfhgh.

i wonder how long until someone says m$.
proxymoron 8th April 2009, 15:17 Quote
I have XP, but I want Ubuntu. I installed both Hardy and Intrepid, and neither one could use the wireless card or built in 3G modem of the machine, so it made my netbook more like a notbook: back to XP, fuming, I went.
robyholmes 8th April 2009, 15:36 Quote
I don't think M$ (There you go itazura) have this right, 96% a bit high. I can see that windows does have a place in netbooks, but not in 96% of them. Linux on the other hand needs to take a look at this and really start developing for netbooks, they are ready are in most cases.

I personaly would go for ubuntu only. Maybe have XP, but depends on what I use it for. Currently I don't have a netbook. I think M$ has a place, but its not as big as they want, and so it shouldn't be!
pimlicosound 8th April 2009, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbloggy
It makes no since to have windows on a netbook. First of all, netbooks have significantly less power than their notebook or desktop counterparts, so linux is clearly better than windows here. Secondly, netbooks are supposed to be as cheap as possible, and Windows costs $$.

I run XP on my MSI Wind and I have no performance problems until I try to run HD video. It boots, restarts and hibernates quickly and the interface is always very responsive.

Windows versions of netbooks tend not to cost much more and generally come with better specs included, like 1GB RAM as opposed to 512MB with Linux.

People aren't idiots for choosing XP netbooks over Linux varieties.
mikeuk2004 8th April 2009, 16:22 Quote
I was um and aring about a netbook and just went for a full blown laptop with vista. My dad however went for a linux netbook and loves it even though hes never used linux before.
Woodspoon 8th April 2009, 16:39 Quote
"in which he also admits that Windows accounted for less than ten percent of the netbook market share in the first half of 2009"


Ummm we're in April the 4th month how is that the first half of 2009?
If he's talking about the first half of 2009 he should hat least wait untill June.
thEcat 8th April 2009, 16:40 Quote
A work mate of mine, in his mid 50's, bought his wife, of similar age, a cheap Linpus Acer for Xmas. I must admit, I cringed inside when he told me what he had done. Sure enough at the start of the year he appears at the office with it in his hands and asks me to help sort it out :(

'How do get the WiFi working?' <chuckle>, I showed him the switch on the front and set a basic configuration. Off he went only to reappear Acer in had two weeks later.

'The WiFi is great, works a charm. How do I set up the email account from my isp?'. I set the bits and off he went once more.

A few weeks later, back again but sans Acer I asked how his wife was getting along with her new toy. 'Excellent, web, email, web cam, photo's - she loves it'. Ah ha.

Curious I had to ask where all this new found computer literacy was coming from. Turns out his eight year old grand daughter is sufficiently familiar with computers that she can work out the Linpus interface and apps by playing around. Amazing.

I would have recommended Windows, it would make my life easier if support were needed, but my work mate and his wife had no knowledge of computers, Windows/Linux it didn't matter to them. The grand daughter is so familiar with computers and similar devices she is in effect OS agnostic.

Must dash, I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
leexgx 8th April 2009, 17:01 Quote
i skiped reading the comments untill i posted this (as its likey an Linux vs XP flame war going on)

one of my customers got an netbook with linux on it had to send it back as she did not even know what she was buying, was sent back as the printer did not work other one was wireless was not working well (seems about right) and software for work and play would not work as well, got an replacement same one but with XP and an DVD-RW Dual USB drive

not all bad i got 1 customer thats got 2 eepcs 4g model that thay get from school all running linux, once i set the network to WEP securty wireless worked fine on them
evanbraakensiek 8th April 2009, 17:02 Quote
I tried a number of distro's on my 'EEE PC 900, but I too use a streamlined version of 'XP now. It might seem like a cop-out but it is just easier for me, and no matter how much I like Linux I am not going to inconvenience myself on a daily basis to satisfy some elitist predisposition.
Narishma 8th April 2009, 17:11 Quote
To me it makes no sense to buy a Linux netbook when you can just buy the Windows version for the same price and then install Linux on it for free. At least this way you get a cheap copy of Windows in case you need it.
naokaji 8th April 2009, 17:17 Quote
Why would I want to bother with Linux? Windows is easier to use since I am used to it and everything I have (be it software or hardware) just works with it....
evanbraakensiek 8th April 2009, 17:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narishma
To me it makes no sense to buy a Linux netbook when you can just buy the Windows version for the same price and then install Linux on it for free. At least this way you get a cheap copy of Windows in case you need it.

I know from experience that the Windows version of the Asus EEE PC 900 came with a 12GB hard drive, the Linux variant came with a 20GB drive, however.
thehippoz 8th April 2009, 17:24 Quote
yeah if you know how to tweak xp out.. all you need is the key- I can understand the power saving on linux but that's about it.. not everyone is going to be computer literate- just look at the popularity of facebook rofl.. half of those people can barely put their shoes on :o
Neophyte4Life 8th April 2009, 17:51 Quote
i have xp, backtrack, and easy peasy on my ee904. Needless to say the default grub is set to easy peasy since it boots the fastest.
Mentai 8th April 2009, 17:52 Quote
If windows "just works," what do macs do?
Sir Digby 8th April 2009, 18:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentai
If windows "just works," what do macs do?
They have marketing campaigns maybe?
notatoad 8th April 2009, 18:20 Quote
i bought a netbook with windows on it, then wiped the disk and installed linux. my brother, who is as n00b as they come, bought one with linux. i offered to install windows on it for him because i had a spare license, but he said he would rather keep linux. it's 5mo later now, he knows how to use apt-get and is still very happy with linux. i did the initial setup for him, and he hasn't had to call asking me for help once.
digitaldave 8th April 2009, 18:51 Quote
i had linux on my asus netbook, then went to windoze, then sold it and bought a macbook pro.

still have a windoze PC but would like to get away from their wares eventually, only problem is i have bought lots of apps and cant switch the license, from now on ill be buying mac apps only and eventually get out of the grips of MS.
labr@t 8th April 2009, 19:00 Quote
i had xp on my lenovo s10 but choose to install ubuntu 8.1 onto it, much nicer os all round and perfect for my needs .
EvilRusk 8th April 2009, 19:14 Quote
Many companies have windows domains (remote profile etc) and all of the licenses/hardware they have is for windows systems so it makes sense to have a windows netbook as it's easier than fitting a linux one into an existing windows only system. It just makes business sense that way.

Of course for home users there isn't much reason not to use linux as how many of us log in to a remote profile?
sui_winbolo 8th April 2009, 19:21 Quote
I've stuck XP on my old Dell CPi. It has a 266Mhz processor, 128MB of RAM, 4GB HDD. I have it down to 11 background processes. It works pretty decent actually.

XP can literally be put on anything and still be a useable OS.

Your average computer user only knows Windows, why would they want anything different? People have no interest in learning new things, they just want a computer that is easy to use.
n3mo 8th April 2009, 19:53 Quote
96% of people are too lazy to raise their kids, why would anyone think that they can learn to use Linux? Windows and macOS are for idiots and ignorants (usually referred to as "general public"), Linux is for people that know what they need and are not afraid to use their brain.

XP is actually quite good - after several years of patching and when you put a little effort into configuration it's a good day-to-day usage and gaming system so it fits nicely an a netbook if you're too stupid to use Linux or just prefer XP.
The_Beast 8th April 2009, 23:40 Quote
I don't think the windows based netbooks are that much more so why not just spring for the windows based one
Krikkit 8th April 2009, 23:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
96% of people are too lazy to raise their kids, why would anyone think that they can learn to use Linux? Windows and macOS are for idiots and ignorants (usually referred to as "general public"), Linux is for people that know what they need and are not afraid to use their brain.

XP is actually quite good - after several years of patching and when you put a little effort into configuration it's a good day-to-day usage and gaming system so it fits nicely an a netbook if you're too stupid to use Linux or just prefer XP.

Fanboyism at its finest.

All OS' have a time and a place. Linux isn't always the best one, especially for the general public. Just because some people don't want it doesn't mean they're stupid though.
Elton 8th April 2009, 23:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
96% of people are too lazy to raise their kids, why would anyone think that they can learn to use Linux? Windows and macOS are for idiots and ignorants (usually referred to as "general public"), Linux is for people that know what they need and are not afraid to use their brain.

XP is actually quite good - after several years of patching and when you put a little effort into configuration it's a good day-to-day usage and gaming system so it fits nicely an a netbook if you're too stupid to use Linux or just prefer XP.

A bit harsh? I mean not everyone wants to use Linux(I don't) because I haven't the time to learn how to code, ect ect.

I know full well how to modify XP and Vista, and so far it's fine, even great for my needs.

Not to bash Linux, but it's a bit hard to meet that gaming need in any Linux distro w/o a few headaches.
HourBeforeDawn 8th April 2009, 23:51 Quote
its just a matter of ease, and most users know how to work Windows and thus would be easier for the masses to get a netbook and know everything will work with little thought so of course most use windows.
HourBeforeDawn 8th April 2009, 23:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
96% of people are too lazy to raise their kids, why would anyone think that they can learn to use Linux? Windows and macOS are for idiots and ignorants (usually referred to as "general public"), Linux is for people that know what they need and are not afraid to use their brain.

XP is actually quite good - after several years of patching and when you put a little effort into configuration it's a good day-to-day usage and gaming system so it fits nicely an a netbook if you're too stupid to use Linux or just prefer XP.

lol fanboi troll alert....
naokaji 9th April 2009, 00:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentai
If windows "just works," what do macs do?

My very old 12" Macbook works just fine as well, just like my windows pcs...
Krikkit 9th April 2009, 00:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elton
I mean not everyone wants to use Linux(I don't) because I haven't the time to learn how to code, ect ect.

You don't need to know how to code, to be fair. But it is harder work than simple point-and-click tbh.
Sir Digby 9th April 2009, 01:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by naokaji
My very old 12" Macbook works just fine as well, just like my windows pcs...

Don't get me wrong - i don't have anything against Apple, I was just commenting on the effect that Apple's adverts have
LordPyrinc 9th April 2009, 03:04 Quote
Why the hell would I want to install an OS like Linux that may or may not be compatible with my hardware? If it is compatible and yet I have to jump through hoops to make it work, why would I do this? OS's like Linux may be good for servers, but not for personal home use. Sure, Microsoft OS's can be bloated and eat up more resources than it needs or should, but I don't have to spend hours trying to figure out how to make a peripheral device work on the system. I just plug it in and most of the time don't even need a driver disk.

I actually prefer an OS that is self intuitive. I spend all day looking at code trying to diagnose issues and come up with solutions. I want an OS that is easy to use and does what I need without having to consult Google on 'How do I do this?'. MS have been doing this for years and OS's like Linux are decades behind.

Note: Until now, I didn't even mention games in this rant. Having to run some sort of emulation software to make a game work on Linux kinda buries the hatchet.
FR34K 9th April 2009, 08:04 Quote
the second I got my netbook, I removed everything windows related...sticker and all
Almightyrastus 9th April 2009, 08:27 Quote
Of course Windows is going to be the OS of choice for the majority of the public. The simple reason is that we are very much in the minority in terms of our computer knowledge, the average home user will have started out using Windows so tat is what they know. Now they go looking at a netbook and see a familiar OS on one and an unfamiliar one on another, which one do you think they are likely to go for?

Linux is a great OS, I did all my programming at uni on pcs using command line only versions of Red Hat 6 and managed fine but the majority of average people just don't want the bother of learning another OS, they just want to do the things they know already.
IQTRM 9th April 2009, 09:56 Quote
LordPyrnic, you almost nailed Ubuntu with that description. Exept games (made for windows) wich are a bit of a hassle. I would personally love to have both Linux and Windows running at the same time with equal access to the hardware on my nonluggable computer to reap the benefits of both OS's.. but sadly there is no such solution so I dualboot.
Xir 9th April 2009, 10:12 Quote
Quote:
People aren't idiots for choosing XP netbooks over Linux varieties.

Who's choosing? I haven't seen a linux based netbook on offer in a retail store since before christmas.
Netbooks are sold with wireless contracts now. and it makes sence (for the store) to sell the more expensive model (which is the windows one).

I wouldn't mind a Linux variant with an SSD...but they're not offered unless you specifically order them and they cost the same as a windows one with a 160GB harddisk :(
digitaldave 9th April 2009, 10:32 Quote
nobody has mentioned that as of 14th april you have to pay for security updates and patches on XP, that would be my main reason NOT to have XP on anything
kenco_uk 9th April 2009, 11:06 Quote
Security updates will be free until 8th April, 2014

Other non-critical updates or hotfixes will be chargeable from 14th April, 2009.

/ninja edit
<-- Post count, fifty five? Shvifty vive! :D
Faulk_Wulf 9th April 2009, 15:49 Quote
What anyone posting here has to remember is that practically by reading the articles on this site and signing up and registering on the forums we've become almost more literate in technology then the average user.

If you can name a flavor of Linux other then Ubuntu, RedHat, and Fedora-- you're probably more technically savvy then the average user.

Windows is bloated, yes. This is obvious by the fact that they can't even properly support Vista on a netbook because of the overhead. However, its convenient. Almost every general program out there is programmed for Windows. Recently there has been a lot of cross-support thanks in no small part to Ubuntu, but like people said-- Windows just works.

Sure, Linux is free. Sure, Windows licenses seem expensive. But here's the thing. If Linux and Windows notebooks cost the same price, you aren't be screwed for by "M$" for XP. And if average Joe Consumer wants a new computer, I'm sure they're going to pick "Windows" over "Ubuntu" / "Linux". Heck, honestly, I believe they would pick Apple over Ubuntu if the prices were competitive.

There is no apt-get, no wifi headbanging, (and not that you should be using a netbook for this purpose but) no hoop-jumping to play a good game. You can argue that Wine eases this transition a bit, and it does. But that's still one more program to install and run where in Windows its just... run.

We look at the technical specs. We compare a slip-streamed XP-pro to a fully configured Ubuntu / Linux-Flavor and scream: "OMGZ WTF! LOOKZ!" I honestly don't know if the extra bit of battery life or $1 off the monthly electric bill is enough to make someone learn a new operating system.

I'm not saying Linux is hard to learn. On the contrary if you never had Windows most operating systems can be equally accessible. The flavors of Linux that are CLI only, or similar, KNOW they aren't for Joe Consumer, they don't pretend to be. Linux is generally self-aware in that respect.

However, the people buying netbooks, are college students and older generations. The college student might understand Linux, might have it for fiddling with on his desktop even. But, if you're worried about your term papers, or just want to log on to Facebook, you probably don't want to worry about apt-get, wine, and wifi issues. Here Mac or Windows would be both equally logical choices. But since price would be a decisive factor, Windows would again win out.

For the older generations, if they know computers, they most likely know Windows. Most people wouldn't WANT to learn something new when something familiar is readily available at a similar or same price.

TL;DR
Ubuntu is a very friendly OS, but it still has a way to go to win over Joe Consumer from their Apples and Windows. Remember, we are NOT Joe Consumer.
n3mo 9th April 2009, 20:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn


lol fanboi troll alert....

Learn to read and understand, than write.

If someone doesn't know anything about the stuff they use, they are ignorant. If you don't know crap about OS you use (95% of users), you are technically ignorant. The same goes to music listeners, car owners, you name it.

The point is that Linux is for the 5% that are interested in the technology behind the gadgets they use (sociology studies show that only around 4-6% people express active interest in the world around them, rest are just passive grey mass).

Basically, there are two choices of OS if you want to work efficiently - Linux (or *BSD for some) and Windows XP. Vista, Seven and OSX are for the rest that want their "computer" to have shiny windows and nice icons, without any kind of in-depth knowledge.

If you call that fanboyism than you sir are an idiot, sorry.
Confused Fishcake 21st April 2009, 12:31 Quote
I'd be interested in stats based on usage rather than sales. My eeepc 1000he was only available with xp, which I quickly replaced with gentoo. I know gentoo isn't a distro for joe public, but ubuntu worked perfectly, no driver issues at all. I got my family to switch to ubuntu, far fewer complaints and free.
Bluefan 26th April 2009, 18:29 Quote
Quote:
... and wizard-based help. “You’ll never need to go to the command line and manually configure things,

I'd rather have a command line that makes it work than a wizards that leads me nowhere. Besides, I love a command line, it's a very efficient piece of software. The best of it: you can go completely without it. Try finding your currept IP in windows. I still need cmd for it.
In linux, you don't need the command line, I just find it handy. MS thinks linux is still in the command line age. They aren't so quick in understanding.

And who could ever be suprised that THEY say THEIR product is better?
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